It turns out the answer actually is blowing in the wind. At least some of it.
Last week the Scottish government announced they were giving the go-ahead for up to 1,000 wind turbines to be set in the sea around Scotland. If they’re successful these massive, big-bladed beasts will generate around five times the total amount of electricity that Scotland needs.
The nation will become a net exporter of electricity. This is both very good, and in some ways, not so good news.
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The good first. It means that in a generation a wholesale switch to clean renewables could be achieved, weaning off the reliance on fossil fuels for much of our energy needs. Clearly the extra generated around Scotland’s waters wouldn’t meet the rest of Britain’s demand. But it would help.
The move will also bring relief from dependence for Scots on overseas energy providers, which would mean that the feared huge energy cost leap we all face in the coming weeks will not be a threat in the future.
But a problem of ownership remains a thorny issue. Public ownership of utilities is a popular choice for Britons. Over 60 per cent said in 2020 that they thought utilities should be mostly run by government. Over 50 per cent of people were also in favour of energy being in public hands. (A BMG poll in 2019 found this hit the sweet spot for 52 per cent of those asked; that 52 per cent remains a stubborn polling constant.)